Illiberal Education

A student applies to a local university. This unnamed student has excellent grades and is but one of a hundred other students who will apply that semester. However, the university turns this student away. Why? The student is turned away not because of the student's failure to fulfill the academic standards of the university, but because of the color of his skin. Our unnamed student is caucasian and meets no protected group standards. It sounds absurd that in this, the last decade of the twentieth century, this kind of prejudice takes place. The creator of this program of prejudice is Affirmative Action.   At its conception, Affirmative Action had good intentions. Its intent was to allow minority students to attend colleges by lowering academic entrance standards, giving them much needed access to higher education. After giving minorities this "leg up," Affirmative Action supporters believed minority students would quickly catch up to their peers.

According to Dinesh D'Souza, author of Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus, Affirmative Action favors one group of humans over another strictly on the basis of skin color and race. Affirmative Action programs have accomplished little in the past twenty years. Affirmative Actions main accomplishment was a further division of humanity along racial lines leading to an escalation of centuries of racial tension. The March 29, 1993 issue of Newsweek shockingly claimed that "Affirmative action is no longer a device to eliminate discrimination against minorities but a means of discrimination against white males."      Originally called compensatory discrimination, Affirmative action was once heralded as the solution to the unfair education practices of the past five centuries. Alas, it was not so. Affirmative action is not the cure-all of education, but is perhaps the main reason for the failure of American education. Affirmative Action programs lack a strong philosophical and cultural core, and promotes the absurd concept of political correctness.     

In addition to lowering academic entrance standards for disadvantaged students, Affirmative action also placed quotas on the number of graduating minority students. In order to meet this quota, centers of higher learning changed the overall curriculum. The new curriculum places more emphasis on easy classes based on interpreted interest and socialization skills rather than on difficult classes requiring memorization and understanding of scientific principles. For example, history students are no longer required to spend long hours committing historical facts to memory, instead history instructors teach that all good history is subject to interpretation and that any given fact is irrelevant as it is only a personal viewpoint.     

The real danger behind Affirmative Action is that robs students of the educational skills they need. We are living in an educational dark age, and American education is failing to measure up to the real education needs of our day. When compared to students in Japan, Taiwan or Western Europe, American students don't do as well.  According to an Article in the Daily Breeze most of the better colleges no longer regard "a structured sequence of courses in literature and the arts, western history, a foreign language, mathematics, and natural sciences" as the core of higher learning.          

As America standards fall more and more behind, more and more unqualified students are produced, requiring a further lowering of standards to produce the same number of graduates.  We are constantly lowering educational standards to the lowest common denominator, and our continuous lowering of the academic standard to pass the largest number of students is failing to provide the education necessary to compete in a larger, more global market. American students, as adults, must compete in a this global market and while American job opportunities are adjusted for the lower academic training Affirmative Action students have received, the rest of the world will not make the same adjustments.    

 As America academic standards are continually lowered, other countries of the world are raising their standards. If American education going to compete in an global market universities must offer courses that will give the United States a competitive edge. Universities should be offering more math and science courses, and fewer classes in third world cultural education. Cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity training are fine as electives, but future jobs skills must take priority.     

Dinesh D'Souza offers a simple alternative solution to Affirmative Action. He proposes that Universities should continue the policy of lowering the entrance standards for disadvantaged students. However, instead labeling race or ethnicity as a disadvantage, it would be based on socioeconomic disadvantage. This would stop the anachronism of using racial discrimination to combat race discrimination. His plan also states that lowered economic entrance standards does no mean lowered graduation requirements. All students must fulfill the same graduation requirements. D'Souza points out that some students may take longer than others to graduate as disadvantages students must spend thier early semesters taking remedial classes in basic subjects.     

Diversity training must give way to general knowledge. The newly formed American Academy for Liberal Education is combating Affirmative Action and the political correct curriculum by promoting a return to classical studies including the study of the literary classics, foreign languages, the history of Western civilization, and the economic and political foundations of American society, and basic courses in mathematics and science.      During the eighteenth century Americas asked are "all men are created equal?" Today the unfair practices and biases of Affirmative Action have answered that question, no. 

Sources

Cose, Ellis. "To the Victors, Few Spoils: Why the Supposed      Conquerors Aren't Celebrating Yet." Newsweek 29 March, 1993:      54

D'Souza, Dinesh. Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex      on Campus. New York: MacMillian. 1991

Schrag, Peter. "No More 'Smorgasbords': Education Needs Standards."      Daily Breeze 23 March 1993: B1.